Etymology
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deserving (adj.)

"that deserves," 1570s, present-participle adjective from deserve (v.). Related: Deservingly (1550s). Phrase deserving poor, those in need and unable to work through no fault of their own (the old, the sick, the lame, etc.) is by 1801.

updated on July 30, 2018

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Definitions of deserving from WordNet

deserving (adj.)
(often used ironically) worthy of being treated in a particular way;
the deserving poor
a deserving cause
Synonyms: worth
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.